Skip to main content

Lecture reconciles human nature, ‘transhumanism'


April 11, 2007

The bionic man or woman is not a reality yet, but scientists are working on new areas in the life sciences, technology and neurosciences that promise more and more control of the human body.

In this slowly dawning phase of evolution, called “posthumanism or transhumanism,” new technologies have the potential to produce human beings with enhanced capabilities who will live longer and have the capacity to create, clone and modify existing forms of life, thereby altering nature, the environment – and human nature itself.

But what will happen to human nature as this transformation continues?

John Tooby, a professor of anthropology and co-director of the Center for Evolutionary Psychology at the University of California-Santa Barbara, will discuss this issue in a lecture titled “Who Are We? Reconciling Universal Human Nature and Genetic Uniqueness” at 7:30 p.m., April 17, in Carson Ballroom at Old Main on ASU's Tempe campus.

Tooby is best known for his work in pioneering the new field of evolutionary psychology, along with Leda Cosmides.

For the past two decades, Tooby has been integrating cognitive science, cultural anthropology, evolutionary biology, paleoanthropology, cognitive neuroscience and hunter-gather studies to create the field of evolutionary psychology.

The goal of evolutionary psychology is to map the cognitive and neural architecture that constitutes human nature – in other words, what makes us human. And what, if anything, will make us “transhuman.”

The lecture is free, but tickets are required. To reserve tickets, call (480) 727-6736 or visit the Web site www.asu.edu/transhumanism.

The lecture is part of the Templeton Research Lectures series at ASU, titled “Facing the Challenges of Transhumanism: Religion, Science, Technology.”

The Templeton Research Lectures are sponsored by the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict. Co-sponsors are the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Affairs, the Institute for Humanities Research, the Biodesign Institute, the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, the Harold and Jean Grossman Chair of Jewish Studies, the Program in Jewish Studies, and the departments of history, physics, philosophy and religious studies.

For more information about the Templeton Research Lectures or the Tooby lecture, call Carolyn Forbes at (480) 727-7187 or Hava Tirosh-Samuelson at (480) 965-5778.